Change in Dalits voting pattern: Athavale
Nashik, Nov 19: Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athavale
has said the result of recent Khadakwasla assembly by-elections
indicate that there is a change in the voting pattern of Dalits.
Talking to reporters here yesterday, he said the victory of BJP-Shiv
Sena-RPI nominee Bhimrao Tapkir in the by-poll to Khadakwasla
constituency was mainly due to Dalits voting for the alliance
candidate instead of the Congress-NCP nominee Harshada Wanjale. The
shift in voting pattern had occurred after he entered into alliance
with the Shiv Sena, he said.
He claimed that with Mr Tapkir's victory in Khadakwasla, NCP chief
Sharad Pawar had suffered the biggest blow in his own bastion.
After this, they would give similar blow to senior NCP leader and
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in Pune, he added.
Criticising the Congress party, he said they had used the RPI for last
20 years and then put them aside.
Mr Athavale, once a close associate of Mr Pawar, criticised the
Maratha strongman and said he left the Congress raising objection over
its president Sonia Gandhi's foreign-origin issue and even formed his
own party. However, to come to power, he again entered into alliance
with the Congress.
The RPI chief said even if there are differences between the Shiv Sena
and BJP, they are united on common minimum programme.
Mr Athavale further said he was supporting the Sena-BJP agitation on
the cotton issue.
He demanded 30 seats for his party for the forthcoming municipal
When asked about social engineering, he quipped that he would do
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